Sunday, December 9, 2007

The $2 Per Capita Increase

There has been some confusion over the $2 increase in per capita (PC) dues. Is the $2 increase a one-time increase? Is there going to be an increase of $2 for each year until 2010, for a total of $6? Is there going to be an increase of $2 every year, forever? The only answer is that the $2 increase is only a one-time increase, because that's what the Convention voted.

The 2007 Convention voted to increase the PC for 2008. The original recommendation contemplated a $6 increase: $2 a year for 2008, 2009 and 2010. This was scrapped (see Robert Levine's Convention Diary under "Recommendation 1 (IEB dues package)"). A single page revised version, with a one-time $2 increase, was handed out to the delegates. The revised version was adopted by a role call vote: 50,552 yes and 37,401 no.

In years where the Convention approves a multi-year increase, that is explicitly outlined in the Bylaws. (See the Bylaws from 2005 and 2003 for examples. 2001, 1999, 1997, and 1995 were before the era of ever-increasing PC dues, an era which coincides with Tom Lee's incumbency.)

Thus, the 2007 Convention explicitly disallowed a $6 increase, and approved only a one-time $2 increase beginning in 2008. This means the PC was $54 in 2007, is $56 in 2008, $56 in 2009, and $56 in 2010. The final version of the Bylaws bears this out. Prominent delegates like Presidents Hair, Espinosa, and Landolfi agree. Even the write-up in the Sept. 2007 International Musician (it's the last item on the page) calls it a "one-year increase."

The delegates at the 2007 Convention had heard of the $650,000 collected in visa processing fees in 2006 (with over $1 million projected for 2007); they had heard Sam Folio say the AFM was in the black. Further PC increases seemed unnecessary.

Most Locals will absorb the increase themselves, because they cannot justify to their members an increase in dues without a commensurate increase in services. The AFM has no such compunction, as we know. But the $2 per capita increase is surely a one-time increase only. Now, all we can do is wait to see if anyone—the President, for example, or the Secretary-Treasurer— will go on record saying otherwise.*

Note: I edited the documents linked in this article to highlight the relevant sections. The original versions of the bylaws (except 1999, which seems to be missing) and the recommendation are available.

*EDIT 11/17/2008: The D.C. Federation of Musicians is now on record saying otherwise.

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